Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

Major News and Commentary Military and Civilian Nuclear Activities

Saturday, December 17, 2011

atomic power review APR - December 17, 2011

atomic power review

APR - December 17, 2011

Beginning with this post, Atomic Power Review will have a new post format intended to give readers a clear update of events accumulated over several days or a week. This new feature appropriately is called APR (no secret what that stands for) and is intended to be a simple review of events. Detailed posts with specific titles and covering specific events will continue. Fully detailed posts concerning the Fukushima Daiichi accident recovery will continue as well. Readers should also note that the APR Twitter feed (seen in a black background box on the right side of this page) serves as a good quick update news ticker - I often tweet things I do not post here. Further, I would always point readers to the auto-updating blog roll on the right, on which you can see the title of the newest post at a number of highly important nuclear energy blogs.

 

Gundersen on EcoReview: Fukushima's Impact on the Oceans

Gundersen on EcoReview: Fukushima's Impact on the Oceans

Fukushima - Could it Have a China Syndrome?

VIDEO  UPDATE: December 14th, 2011
Fukushima - Could it Have a China Syndrome?
Fairewinds' Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen discusses whether the accidents at Fukushima were a meltdown, a melt-through, or a China Syndrome. Whatever the accidents are named, thousands of tons of water contaminated with plutonium, uranium, and other very toxic radioactive isotopes are flooding the site, the surrounding water table, and the ocean.
Watch Video Now
 

Reactor Reax Top Stories - Scuffle at NRC Has Stench of Industry Influence Behind It

Reactor Reax Top Stories - Scuffle at NRC Has Stench of Industry Influence Behind It

Modular reactors may hold key to US energy

Modular reactors may hold key to US energy

Viability depends on perception, competitors
Richard Jansen

Yucca funding remains zero in 2012

Yucca funding remains zero in 2012

NRC Nixes Petitioners' Request to Shut Down Fukushima-Style Plants, Including Oyster Creek

NRC Nixes Petitioners' Request to Shut Down Fukushima-Style Plants, Including Oyster Creek

Indian Point: The Next Fukushima? By VICTOR GILINSKY

Indian Point: The Next Fukushima?

By VICTOR GILINSKY
Santa Monica, Calif.
NINE months after an earthquake and tsunami destroyed the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan and set off the world’s worst radiation crisis since Chernobyl, the Japanese government finally announced on Friday that the plant’s reactors had been stabilized.
But federal regulators have yet to absorb the lessons from this crisis. The owners of the Indian Point nuclear plant in Westchester County, 25 miles north of New York City, are asking the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to extend their operating licenses for 20 years. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo strongly opposes those renewals.
However unlikely, the possibility of a major meltdown at a plant in the United States can’t be dismissed. And yet Gregory B. Jaczko, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, told Bloomberg last week that there would be enough time for millions of people in the region to get away “because nuclear accidents do develop slowly, they do develop over time, and we saw that at Fukushima.”
But even if that were true, many might never be able to return. Some 160,000 Japanese are still displaced because the radioactive contamination — in an area far less populated and less dense than the New York area — was so intense and far-reaching. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s cost-benefit analyses for Indian Point and other nuclear plants in the United States do not factor in these possibilities. The consequences of land contamination should be weighed in any decision to re-license the plant’s two reactors, which are up for renewal in 2013 and 2015.
The reason the contamination is so long-lasting is that Cesium 137, the most dangerous isotope released in a severe accident, has a half-life of 30 years. A contaminated area — one that was, say, four times above the maximum permissible post-accident radiation level for human habitation — would stay above that level for nearly a human lifetime.
The standard for a mandatory evacuation at Fukushima was set at about 20 times the maximum radiation level allowed for normal operation. That is not a life-threatening level, but it is high enough that the International Commission on Radiation Protection warns against year-round human habitation.
Hundreds of square miles around Chernobyl, site of a meltdown in 1986, are still off-limits. The Japanese evacuated a comparable area northwest of the Fukushima site. It’s not practical to decontaminate an area that large, and few people are going to want to live there even if they are allowed to.
Dr. Jaczko said it was unlikely that a nuclear accident would require prompt action beyond “more than a few miles.” That might be correct in terms of avoiding immediate health effects from radiation (though after Fukushima, he advised United States citizens in Japan to stay at least 50 miles away from the reactors). But his remark does not begin to capture the human and economic devastation in Japan. At Fukushima, some areas more than 25 miles from the reactors were contaminated beyond the mandatory evacuation level.
The lack of attention to possible land contamination is a major gap in the American system of nuclear safety regulation. After Fukushima, it should be the main safety concern — and one that is not addressed by evacuation, no matter how efficient.
A severe accident at Indian Point, whose two reactors opened in 1974 and 1976, is a remote but real possibility. We’ve had two severe accidents with large releases of radioactivity in the past. The Chernobyl accident was dismissed in Western countries on the grounds that it was the product of Soviet sloppiness and “couldn’t happen here.” But the Fukushima accident involved reactors built to American designs.
The essential characteristic of this technology is that the reactor’s uranium fuel — about 100 tons in a typical plant — melts quickly without cooling water. The containment structures surrounding the reactors — even the formidable-looking domes at Indian Point — were not designed to hold melted fuel because safety regulators 40 years ago considered a meltdown impossible.
They were wrong, and we now know that radioactive material in the melted fuel can escape to contaminate a very large area for decades or more. It doesn’t make sense to allow such a threat to persist a half-hour’s drive from our nation’s largest city.
Victor Gilinsky, an energy consultant, was a member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 1975 to 1984.

Small Modular Reactors: One component of a sustainable energy future?

Small Modular Reactors: One component of a sustainable energy future?

Small reactors could figure into US energy future

Small reactors could figure into US energy future

December 13, 2011 Small reactors could figure into US energy futureEnlarge
The Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station at Oak Harbor, Ohio, on the shore of Lake Erie, is a megawatt-scale reactor. Small modular reactors may prove to be a feasible alternative to such reactors in the future, according to a new study released by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC). Credit: Lloyd DeGrane
A newly released study from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) concludes that small modular reactors may hold the key to the future of U.S. nuclear power generation.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, December 16, 2011

EDF Considers Dropping New Nuclear In Maryland -Source


EDF Considers Dropping New Nuclear In Maryland -Source

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors to be Mass Produced in US?

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors to be Mass Produced in US?

Hungary targeting expansion of nuclear energy use

Hungary targeting expansion of nuclear energy use

EU 2050 Energy Roadmap Neutral On Nuclear Power

EU 2050 Energy Roadmap Neutral On Nuclear Power

Nuclear Energy Insider Policy and Commission Update 8 – 14 December 2011 Small reactors could figure into US energy policy

Nuclear Energy Insider Policy and Commission Update 8 – 14 December 2011
Small reactors could figure into US energy policy
A newly released study from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) has assessed that small modular reactors may hold the key to the future of US nuclear power generation.
The economic viability of small modular reactors will depend partly on how quickly manufacturers can learn to build them efficiently, the report said.
SMRs are appealing for markets that could not easily accommodate gigawatt-scale plants, such as those currently served by aging, 200- to 400-megawatt coal plants, which are likely to be phased out during the next decade, said Robert Rosner, institute director and the William Wrather Distinguished Service Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics.
An unknown factor that will affect the future of these plants would be the terms of any new clean-air regulations that might be enacted in the next year.
“It would be a huge stimulus for high-valued job growth, restore US leadership in nuclear reactor technology and, most importantly, strengthen US. leadership in a post-Fukushima world, on matters of nuclear safety, nuclear security, nonproliferation, and nuclear waste management,” the report said.
The reports assessed the economic feasibility of classical, gigawatt-scale reactors and the possible new generation of modular reactors. The latter would have a generating capacity of 600 megawatts or less, would be factory-built as modular components, and then shipped to their desired location for assembly.
It would now cost $4,210 per kilowatt to build a new gigawatt-scale reactor, according to the new report. This cost is approximately $2,210 per kilowatt higher than the 2004 estimate because of commodity price changes and other factors.
Natural gas would be the chief competitor of nuclear power generated by SMRs. “We’re talking about natural gas prices not today but 10, 15 years from now when these kinds of reactors could actually hit the market.”
The US Department of Energy funded the reports through Argonne, which is operated by UChicago Argonne. The principal authors of the report were Rosner and Stephen Goldberg, special assistant to Argonne’s director.
Australia energy policy could reconsider nuclear
Minerals Council of Australia acting chief executive Brendan Pearson said a recently published draft energy white paper provided a "sound basis" for a much-needed national debate about the future of energy policy.
According to a report on The Australian, the paper had recognised the fundamental role that coal and uranium would continue to play in Australia's export profile over the next three decades.
"Importantly, the draft paper also canvasses the prospect that a future Australian government may need to adopt nuclear energy in order to meet emissions reductions targets," Pearson said.
Senator Milne said climate and energy policy were "on a direct collision course", according to the report and accused Ferguson of having a bias against renewable energy.
Business groups backed the policy, according to the report, with the Business Council of Australia saying that if Australia were to maintain its competitive advantages after years of low-cost energy it had to pursue the most cost-effective energy sources and could not afford to limit its options.
"Technologies such as nuclear are an important consideration in determining the optimal mix of demand and supply-side technologies," BCA chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.
Oconee electrical breaker causes safety concern
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has determined that electrical breakers installed in a key safety system would not have functioned during certain scenarios at the Oconee nuclear plant, representing a finding of “substantial safety significance” that will result in increased NRC inspection and oversight of the facility.
The three-unit plant is operated by Duke Energy near Seneca, South Carolina, 30 miles west of Greenville.
NRC inspection findings are evaluated using a safety significance scale with four levels, ranging from “green” for minor significance, through “white” and “yellow” to “red” for high significance.
The NRC concluded that one of two violations at Oconee related to the electrical breakers is “yellow,” having “substantial safety significance,” while the second violation is “green,” having “very low safety significance.”
Limerick has inadequate feedwater plan
The Exelon Generation operated Limerick Unit 2 nuclear power plant will receive additional oversight from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission following the finalization of a “White” (low to moderate safety significance) inspection finding for the Pennsylvania facility.
The inspection finding involves inadequate procedures related to the operation of two main feedwater system valves, said an NRC statement.
During a Limerick Unit 2 start-up on April 22, 2011, the valves failed to fully close, resulting in one of the plant’s safety systems, known as the Reactor Core Isolation Cooling (RCIC) system, being inoperable from April 23 to May 23, 2011.
Specifically, the partially open valves created a flow path that would have prevented the majority of water flow from the RCIC system from reaching the reactor during an accident and thereby helping to mitigate the event.
French nuclear site security policies to be reviewed
EDF and the larger French nuclear sector will be reviewing their on-site security and trespassing policies following two incidents created by Greenpeace activists this month.
According to a Business Week report, nine Greenpeace activists cut through a fence at the Nogent-sur-Seine atomic plant 95 kilometers (59 miles) southeast of Paris and headed for a domed reactor building.
The report said that they scaled the roof and unfurled a “Safe Nuclear Doesn’t Exist” banner before attracting the attention of security guards.
Later that same day, two more campaigners breached the perimeter of the Cruas-Meysse plant on the Rhone, escaping detection for more than 14 hours while posting videos of their sit-in on the internet.
Germany’s nuclear phase out to cull talent
Despite Germany Chancellor Merkel’s estimations that the country’s new energy policy will create more jobs than will be lost, thousands of nuclear energy specialists will be out of a job.
Areva said earlier this week that it would cut over 1,200 jobs in Germany as part of a plan to cut costs caused by the shrinking demands for nuclear power, which produces more than 22 per cent of Germany’s electricity supply, second to coal, which produces 42 per cent.
EON and RWE will also make substantial job cuts due to the government's abandonment of nuclear energy.

NRC approves prioritization of Japan lessons-learned task force recommendations

NRC approves prioritization of Japan lessons-learned task force recommendations

Coakley appeals decision to Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Coakley appeals decision to Nuclear Regulatory Commission

NRC chair responds to critics at Senate hearing

NRC chair responds to critics at Senate hearing

NRC’s Jaczko Backed by U.S. Senate Democrats in Leadership Feud

NRC’s Jaczko Backed by U.S. Senate Democrats in Leadership Feud

Congerence Agreement for the FY 12 budge - Nuclear Energy


 Here is the official verbiage for the Conference Agreement for the FY12 budget that Congress is set to approve today:
 
 
NUCLEAR ENERGYThe conference agreement provides $768,663,000 for nuclear energy activities, instead of
$733,633,000 as proposed by the House and $583,834,000 as proposed by the Senate.
The conferees direct the Department to develop a strategy for the management of spent nuclear
fuel and other nuclear waste within 6 months of publication of the final report of the Blue Ribbon
Commission on America's Nuclear Future.
Nuclear Energy Enabling Technologies.-The conference agreement provides $74,880,000, to
include $14,580,000 for the National Science User Facility at Idaho National Laboratory, $24,300,000 for
the Modeling and Simulation Energy Innovation Hub, and $36,000,000 for Crosscutting Research.
Small Modular Reactor Licensing Technical Support.-The conference agreement includes
$67,000,000 to provide licensing and first-of-a-kind engineering support for small modular reactor designs
that can be deployed expeditiously, to be administered as specified in the budget request. The Departtnent
is directed to consider applications utilizing any small modular reactor technologies. The conferees expect
the program to total $452,000,000 over five years.
Reactor Concepts Research and Development.-The conferees provide $115,544,000, to include
$28,674,000 for Small Modular Reactors Advanced Concepts and $21,870,000 for Advanced Reactor
Concepts.
The conference agreement includes $25,000,000 for Light Water Reactor Sustainability. Within
available funds, the Departtnent is directed to conduct research and development furthering knowledge on
how long the current fleet of reactors can safely operate.
The conference agreement includes $40,000,000 for the Next Generation Nuclear Plant program,
$30,000,000 of which is to accelerate fuel development and qualification activities and $10,000,000 of
which is to continue ongoing research and development projects begun in prior fiscal years.
Fuel Cycle Research and Development.-The conference agreement provides $187,351,000.
The conference agreement includes $60,000,000 for Used Nuclear Fuel Disposition. Within
available funds, $10,000,000 is for development and licensing of standardized transportation, aging, and
disposition canisters and casks. Multiple geologic repositories will ultimately be required for the long-term
disposition ofthe nation's spent fuel and nuclear waste; the Department should build upon its current
knowledge base to fully understand all repository media and storage options and their comparative
advantages, and the conferees direct the Department to focus, within available funds, $3,000,000 on
development of models for potential partnerships to manage spent nuclear fuel and high level waste, and
$7,000,000 on characterization of potential geologic repository media. The Department is directed to
preserve all documentation relating to Yucca Mountain, including technical information, records, and other
documents, as well as scientific data and physical materials.
The conference agreement includes $10,000,000 to expand the Department's capabilities for
assessing issues related to the aging and safety of storing spent nuclear fuel, to include experimentation,
modeling, and simulation for dry storage casks, as well as for spent fuel pools, as necessary.
The conference agreement includes $59,000,000 for Advanced Fuels, and directs that priority for
the increase in funding be given to efforts to develop and qualifY meltdown-resistant, accident-tolerant
nuclear fuels that would enhance the safety of light water reactors.
Radiological Facilities Management.-The conference agreement provides $64,902,000 for space
and defense infrastructure, to include $15,000,000 for nuclear infrastructure at Oak Ridge National
Laboratory. The conferees provide no funds for the Plutonium-238 Production Restart Project.

NRC must probe fire safety order

NRC must probe fire safety order

Japan PM says Fukushima nuclear site finally stabilised

Japan PM says Fukushima nuclear site finally stabilised

The Next Great Wave: The Fiasco At The NRC

The Next Great Wave: The Fiasco At The NRC

Fukushima and nuclear power, 9 months on by Barry Brook

Fukushima and nuclear power, 9 months on

by Barry Brook

Jerry Johnson: Thorium could be energy solution

Jerry Johnson: Thorium could be energy solution

Psychosis at the Top Derails NRC Operations: Commissioners

Psychosis at the Top Derails NRC Operations: Commissioners


Top Oil and Gas News from PennEnergy

Chevron hits natural gas again offshore Western Australia
Chevron Corp. announced a natural gas discovery by its Australian subsidiary in the Exmouth Plateau area of the Carnarvon Basin, offshore Western Australia.
Full Article
Share: Facebook Linkedin Twitter Forward to Friend
Explosion cripples Syrian oil pipeline
As violence continued in conflict-torn Syria, saboteurs destroyed a major oil pipeline supplying the western city of Homs, according to The Associated Press.
Full Article

This Week's Most Popular Oil & Gas News
BOEM outlines GoM lease sale results
HP/HT gas strike for ConocoPhillips offshore Norway
Eni, Shell buy into big potential offshore Nigeria
Total looking to source LNG from the Atlantic Basin
Rockhopper reports multiple discoveries in North Falkland Basin
TransCanada announces additional commitments to Keystone XL following successful open season
Deloitte Survey: Benefits of shale gas outweigh risks
Qatar Petroleum secures funding for USD 10.4bn Barzan gas plant
Chevron Responds to Reported Lawsuit by Federal District Attorney in Campos Brazil
Rosetta to invest $590MM to expand activities in the Eagle Ford shale
Petrobras CEO: Tight Oil Market is 'New Normal'
Asian oil refineries scale back production

'Absolutely no progress being made' at Fukushima nuke plant, undercover reporter says

'Absolutely no progress being made' at Fukushima nuke plant, undercover reporter says

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fukushima Exclusion Zone

Fukushima Exclusion Zone

Jaczko Must Go

By Rod Adams, December 14, 2011
My professional work habits and standards were formed by 33 years in the US naval service, an organization with a proud tradition of developing independent decision makers who could be entrusted with billions of dollars worth of national assets and thousands of lives. Our tradition includes demanding training, strong mentoring programs, regular competitive evaluations and a continuing series of...  » Continue...

Nuclear commission chief 'abusive,' fellow members testify

Nuclear commission chief 'abusive,' fellow members testify

Link to prepared testimony from Jaczko hearing

http://oversight.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1536:12-14-2011-qthe-leadership-of-the-nuclear-regulatory-commissionq&catid=12&Itemid=1 <http://oversight.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1536:12-14-2011-qthe-leadership-of-the-nuclear-regulatory-commissionq&catid=12&Itemid=1>

All the prepared statements from yesterday's hearing on dysfunction at the NRC are now online.

NRC Dedicates Staff to Manage Lessons Learned from Japan

U.S. NRC Blog

NRC Dedicates Staff to Manage Lessons Learned from Japan

by Moderator
David Skeen
As the year comes to an end, the NRC continues to evaluate the lessons learned from the March 2011 nuclear accident in Japan to ensure that appropriate safety enhancements are implemented at nuclear power plants here in the U.S. We at the NRC take the tragic accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant very seriously, and are striving to gain insights from the accident to improve nuclear safety here at home.
Earlier this year, the Commission directed technical experts on the NRC staff to develop recommendations for enhancing reactor safety at U.S. plants. This direction resulted in a July 2011 report that identified 12 over-arching recommendations from what is known as the Near-Term Task Force.
We’ve established a group of 24, full-time employees to focus exclusively on the implementation of the recommendations. These employees are experts in nuclear power plant design and operations and emergency preparedness. The group is called the Japan Lessons-Learned Project Directorate. The directorate will support a steering committee consisting of senior agency managers to coordinate and implement the task force recommendations per with our Commission’s direction, including its goal of striving to implement the recommendations within five years.
An important aspect of our path forward is stakeholder engagement with members of the public. We will seek input through public meetings to help us determine whether changes may be required to improve safety at U.S. nuclear power plants.
David L. Skeen was recently named as head of the directorate. He’s been involved in the U.S. response since the tsunami hit Fukushima. He has more than 20 years experience as a reactor engineer and policy advisor, and excellent skills and experience to effectively lead the effort.
We will keep you up to date on our activities here, and on the dedicated Japan page on the NRC web site.
Amy Bonaccorso
Sr. Communications Technical Assistant
Japan Lessons-Learned Project Directorate

Earthquake real cause of Fukushima nuclear accident

Earthquake real cause of Fukushima nuclear accident

U.S. anxious to secure nuclear waste disposal site as China emerges on scene

U.S. anxious to secure nuclear waste disposal site as China emerges on scene

EON Spends $9 Billion on Renewables as Germany Exits Nuclear

EON Spends $9 Billion on Renewables as Germany Exits Nuclear

Turkish Nuclear Plants to Reduce Russia Dependence, Cut Gas Cost

Turkish Nuclear Plants to Reduce Russia Dependence, Cut Gas Cost

French nuclear energy

French nuclear energy

Under pressure

France wants to export nuclear reactors. Who will buy them?

Japan Traders Eye $200 Billion Power Market Post-Fukushima

Bloomberg

Japan Traders Eye $200 Billion Power Market Post-Fukushima

UPDATE: US Encourages Japan To Stick With Nuclear Power To Curb Carbon Emissions

UPDATE: US Encourages Japan To Stick With Nuclear Power To Curb Carbon Emissions

TerraPower seeks wisdom in China

TerraPower seeks wisdom in China

UPDATE 2-UK clears Areva/EDF, Westinghouse reactor designs

UPDATE 2-UK clears Areva/EDF, Westinghouse reactor designs

IAEA urges UAE to conclude nuclear waste policy

IAEA urges UAE to conclude nuclear waste policy

Japan to declare nuclear plant in stable condition

Japan to declare nuclear plant in stable condition

Republicans float bill to limit NRC chairman's authority

Republicans float bill to limit NRC chairman's authority

Toshiba Reactor Wins Majority Backing From Feuding U.S. Nuclear Commission

Toshiba Reactor Wins Majority Backing From Feuding U.S. Nuclear Commission

NRC says new South Texas nukes don't pass ownership test

NRC says new South Texas nukes don't pass ownership test

Nuke chief Jaczko: I won’t resign

Nuke chief Jaczko: I won’t resign

Nuke Industry Pet Pol's Big Show

Nuke Industry Pet Pol's Big Show

Fukushima Daiichi Water Treatment - Second Installment

Fukushima Daiichi Water Treatment - Second Installment

“Managing contaminated water”

“Managing contaminated water” http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/fukushima_accident_inf129.html

Earthquake and tsunami in Japan

Earthquake and tsunami in Japan

Utilities Getting More Engaged With Solar

By Benjamin Lack, December 15, 2011
Julia Hamm, Executive Director of the Solar Electric Power Association, discusses the current status of the solar industry and why the uility’s role in the growth of the solar industry is growing. Full Transcript:Ben lack:What is SEPA’s stance with regards to China’s involvement to generate additional solar capacity and trying to win that race of being energy independent.Julia Hamm:Well, at...  » Continue...

Has the Navy Set Sail or Aborted the Mission to Use Green Fuels?

By A Siegel, December 15, 2011
In 2008, Admiral Gary Roughead, U.S. Navy, then Chief of Naval of Operations, established  Task Force Energy and Task Force Climate (prior to the Obama Administration).  Since then, Task Force Energy has provided a serious focal point for fostering changing Navy thinking and approaches to energy use and demand.The Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, has established...  » Continue...

Small Modular Reactor Could be the Next Nuclear Power Generation

Small Modular Reactor Could be the Next Nuclear Power Generation

U. of Chicago Study Outlines Value of Small Modular Reactors

U. of Chicago Study Outlines Value of Small Modular Reactors

Use Meltdown-Proof Modular Nuclear Reactors, Says Top U.S. Scientist

Use Meltdown-Proof Modular Nuclear Reactors, Says Top U.S. Scientist

Gregory Jaczko, Nuclear Regulatory Comission Chief, Again Faces 'Bully' Claim

Gregory Jaczko, Nuclear Regulatory Comission Chief, Again Faces 'Bully' Claim

NRC chief: 'Mortified' by bullying allegations

NRC chief: 'Mortified' by bullying allegations

Bloomberg NRC’s Magwood Backs AP1000 Reactor as Design Gains Majority Vote

Bloomberg

NRC’s Magwood Backs AP1000 Reactor as Design Gains Majority Vote

NRC flags TVA's Sequoyah nuclear plant over shutdowns

NRC flags TVA's Sequoyah nuclear plant over shutdowns

Toshiba Reactor Wins Majority Backing From Feuding U.S. Nuclear Commission

Toshiba Reactor Wins Majority Backing From Feuding U.S. Nuclear Commission

A Fight in the N.R.C. Family


A Fight in the N.R.C. Family

Dear Readers

I am on medical leave for two days but will be returning this weekend to fill in the holes and update the blog.
Michele Kearney

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Biggest Atomic Breach Raises Alarm as French Debate Reactors

Biggest Atomic Breach Raises Alarm as French Debate Reactors

Radioactive Emissions Measurement at Fukushima Daiichi - new TEPCO video

atomic power review Fukushima Daiichi update - December 13, 2011

atomic power review


Fukushima Daiichi update - December 13, 2011

Editorial: Japan's nuke meltdown shouldn't close U.S. plants

Editorial: Japan's nuke meltdown shouldn't close U.S. plants

UPDATE 3-Areva overhauls its finances as Fukushima hits industry

UPDATE 3-Areva overhauls its finances as Fukushima hits industry

From the NRC Blog Fort Calhoun nuclear plant gets more NRC oversight

U.S. NRC Blog

Fort Calhoun nuclear plant gets more NRC oversight

by Moderator
In recent months, the NRC has identified additional performance and technical issues that will need to be resolved before the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station can restart. The plant, located about 19 miles north of Omaha, Neb., shut down on April 9 for a refueling outage. The outage was extended due to flooding along the Missouri River. Then an electrical fire on June 7 led to the declaration of an “Alert” and caused further restart complications.
On September 2 the NRC issued a Confirmatory Action Letter documenting actions that Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) officials agreed to take prior to seeking permission from the NRC to restart. The NRC later dispatched a special inspection team to review circumstances surrounding the electrical fire. The fire had resulted in the loss of spent fuel pool cooling capability for a brief time and caused significant unexpected system interactions.
During the fall, OPPD employees have been working their way through an extensive checklist of actions needed to assess damage to the site as well as checking structures, systems and components for damage that may have been caused by flooding.
All of this has been occurring against a very significant backdrop: On Sept. 1, the plant was placed in Column Four of the NRC’s Reactor Oversight Process Action Matrix because of multiple violations of NRC regulations. These include a “yellow” finding of substantial safety significance because of inadequate strategies to protect the plant from flooding and a “white” finding of low to moderate safety significance for the failure of electrical components used to automatically shutdown the reactor. Column Four is reserved for plants with significant performance issues.
The discovery of additional concerns, which are still being studied and evaluated, further complicates matters. The Alert caused by the breaker fire resulted from inadequate design or installation of electrical components. Deficiencies were noted with environmental qualification analyses for plant structures, systems and components. These analyses are relied on to demonstrate that key systems will be able to perform their safety functions under a variety of challenging accident conditions like earthquakes, loss of coolant accidents, high radiation fields, seismic events, etc.
There also are concerns with the plant’s emergency response program. OPPD officials failed to notify state and local officials of the June 7th Alert within the required 15 minutes. In a separate emergency exercise, OPPD withdrew a protective action recommendation after it had been communicated to emergency responders.
For these reasons, NRC senior managers have decided to increase oversight of Fort Calhoun using Inspection Manual Chapter 0350, which is reserved for facilities that are shut down due to significant performance and/or operational concerns. This inspection process provides guidance to the NRC staff to ensure that licensee corrective actions will be sufficient to safely restart and operate the plant.
The 0350 process has only been used for 12 other sites since 1994, making this an infrequent – and important – step to maintaining safety as U.S. nuclear power plants. Stay tuned for more information about this site in the future.
Victor Dricks
Region IV Public Affairs

URL: Full Text Daley letter to Issa on Jaczko apology

Monticello nuclear plant back to full power three weeks after shutdown

U.S. continues close cooperation with Taiwan on nuclear energy

 
U.S. continues close cooperation with Taiwan on nuclear energy

Areva suspends raft of nuclear power projects

Areva suspends raft of nuclear power projects

China May Approve Nuclear Projects After Revising Safety Rules

China May Approve Nuclear Projects After Revising Safety Rules

Nuclear Regulatory Board’s Open Feuding Gives Obama Another Energy Dispute

Nuclear Regulatory Board’s Open Feuding Gives Obama Another Energy Dispute

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Plagued by Infighting

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Plagued by Infighting

Leadership of the agency responsible for overseeing U.S. nuke plants is in turmoil in the advent of implementing sweeping new rules in response to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

White House Ducks Issa Hearing on Nuclear Commission Dispute

White House Ducks Issa Hearing on Nuclear Commission Dispute

Groups voice concern over Dominion nuke plant

Groups voice concern over Dominion nuke plant

US nuclear agency: Can they all just get along?

US nuclear agency: Can they all just get along?

NRC 'Coup' Leader, Bill Magwood, Consulted For Fukushima Parent Company

NRC 'Coup' Leader, Bill Magwood, Consulted For Fukushima Parent Company

Gregory Jaczko has 'apologized,' hopes to ease tensions at NRC, White House says

Gregory Jaczko has 'apologized,' hopes to ease tensions at NRC, White House says

Nuclear safety regulator: The US model

Nuclear safety regulator: The US model

Dispute between Nuclear Regulatory Commission members about ‘organizational issues,’ White House says

Dispute between Nuclear Regulatory Commission members about ‘organizational issues,’ White House says

White House: NRC Dispute Not Impacting Safety

White House: NRC Dispute Not Impacting Safety

Wind project in jeopardy as NRG drops contract

Wind project in jeopardy as NRG drops contract

Bill Gates Funds 'Big Battery' Startup

Bill Gates Funds 'Big Battery' Startup
Design News
But that won't be as big an issue if a new battery technology finds its way to the market. The battery, developed by a startup called Liquid Metal Battery Corp. (LMBC), could serve as a form of storage for everything from electric utilities down to ...


http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1395&doc_id=236610&f_src=designnews_gnews

House Republicans release new report critical of Jaczko

House Republicans release new report critical of Jaczko

New AP1000(R) Station Blackout website Passive Safety Systems and Timeline for Station Blackout

New AP1000(R) Station Blackout website

Nuclear Agency Chief Slammed In Report

Nuclear Agency Chief Slammed In Report

Monday, December 12, 2011

Effective Regulation of Nuclear Energy Important for Public Confidence in NRC

The following statement by NEI CEO Marv Fertel was just posted to the NEI Web site.


Nuclear Energy Institute
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
·         Contact: 202.739.8000
·         For Release: December 12, 2011
Effective Regulation of Nuclear Energy Important for Public Confidence in NRC
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The following statement concerning the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is from the Nuclear Energy Institute’s president and chief executive officer, Marvin Fertel:
“Safe performance of nuclear energy facilities and the NRC’s credibility are the two most important factors for policymaker and public confidence in nuclear energy. As such, the industry is concerned with anything that threatens the credibility of either. We are confident that Congress and the White House will take the steps necessary to ensure that the NRC is an efficient, effective regulator that provides oversight of commercial nuclear technology.

“The issue that is of most concern is the question of a chilled working environment at the agency, including the possibility of staff intimidation and harassment, at a time when the senior management and staff are working on critical licensing activities and post-Fukushima safety recommendations. The industry takes safety culture issues seriously and we expect the same priority treatment of these issues by our regulator.

“The NRC functions best when it has a full complement of five capable commissioners to provide guidance and direction to the NRC staff. Safety is maximized when NRC and industry resources are focused on those matters that are most important to safety. It is important that the dynamics that exist within the commission be resolved professionally and expeditiously so that the important work of the agency can continue without interruption or distraction. The American people expect and deserve nothing less.

“The industry’s commitment to nuclear power plant safety is unwavering and we will not be distracted from this mission by events at the NRC. Of the top 20 performing plants in the world, 16 of them are American reactors. The industry exceeds federal safety standards and it is critical that our entire industry keep a sharp focus on safety. Furthermore, the industry is taking steps to make safe nuclear energy facilities even safer by applying the lessons learned from the accident in Japan at America’s nuclear power plants.”

From the NRC Blog How did the NRC decide the shield building at Davis-Bess is safe? by Moderator

U.S. NRC Blog

How did the NRC decide the shield building at Davis-Bess is safe?

by Moderator
Do the cracks discovered in the shield building at the Davis-Besse Nuclear Station compromise its ability to stand up to tornadoes and earthquakes?
Can the shield building still protect the reactor vessel from being hit by heavy outside objects?
The NRC concluded on December 3 that the shield building can fulfill these safety functions. However, the agency is making sure the plant takes necessary actions to ensure the continued safety of the shield building and issued a Confirmatory Action Letter (CAL) documenting these actions as commitments to the NRC.
The NRC responded to the discovery of the cracks in the shield building immediately by dispatching a structural inspector to the site and putting together a team of about ten engineers to provide a thorough and independent review of the plant’s actions to characterize the cracks and analyze their implications for shield building safety.
NRC inspectors worked tirelessly to make sure they had a thorough understanding of the condition of the shield building. This intense review process allowed the agency to reach the conclusion that the structure was strong enough to fulfill its safety function. This review involved:
• monitoring the licensee’s activities at the plant as they were identifying the extent and nature of the cracks;
• examining the licensee’s methodology for assessing the impact of the cracks on the shield building;
• making sure the samples taken from the building were sufficient to indicate the extent and the severity of the cracks in the building as a whole;
• reviewing the calculations and the assumptions on the shield building’s ability to withstand stresses during normal operation and during events such as tornadoes and earthquakes;
• continuing to ask questions about the specifics of the licensee’s calculations; challenging their assumptions; requesting additional information; and
• making sure the calculations were sufficiently conservative until NRC inspectors had reasonable assurance that the building had sufficient structural strength to fulfill its safety function.
The NRC has two outstanding issues that don’t have an immediate impact on the shield building’s ability to fulfill its safety function but need to be addressed going forward. One is understanding what caused the cracks; the other is determining if the shield building still meets the original design specifications in the plant’s license.
The first issue will be addressed through the CAL, which commits the plant to submitting a “root cause evaluation” to the NRC by February 28, 2012. In the meantime, the CAL also commits the plant to monitoring the extent and the size of the cracks short-term to make sure the company’s safety conclusions remain valid. The plant had committed to develop a long-term monitoring program after the causes of the cracking are better understood.
If the company fails to meet the commitments in the CAL the agency can take further regulatory action to ensure the safety of the plant and the public.
The NRC will continue to inspect the second issue to determine if the cracks affected the design margins of the shield building in the plant’s license. The agency will document the results of this review in a future inspection report, which will be made public, and determine the need for any further regulatory action.
Cynthia Pederson
Acting Regional Administrator
Region III
Moderator | December 12, 2011 at 11:43 am | Tags: nuclear | Categories: General, Operating Reactors | URL: http://wp.me/p1fSSY-wZ

Sunday, December 11, 2011

NASA Finds Japan Tsunami Waves Merged, Doubling Power

NASA Finds Japan Tsunami Waves Merged, Doubling Power

Nuclear Agencies Are Wholly Controlled By (and Serve) the Nuclear Industry … Just Like the Fed Is Owned By (and Serves) Its Member Banks

Nuclear Agencies Are Wholly Controlled By (and Serve) the Nuclear Industry … Just Like the Fed Is Owned By (and Serves) Its Member Banks

Grand Gulf expands

Grand Gulf expands

Experts Complete IAEA Follow-Up Review of Canada's Nuclear Regulatory System

Experts Complete IAEA Follow-Up Review of Canada's Nuclear Regulatory System

Mao-crosoft: Bill Gates and China

Mao-crosoft: Bill Gates and China

Alternative Nuclear Power: Pebble Bed Reactor

Alternative Nuclear Power: Pebble Bed Reactor

Small Modular Reactors: Report from U. of Chicago

Small Modular Reactors: Report from U. of Chicago

Provocative U.S. nuclear chief faces political test

Provocative U.S. nuclear chief faces political test

Groups urge closer look at Yankee

Groups urge closer look at Yankee

NEW REPORT DETAILS CONSPIRACY TO DELAY, WEAKEN US NUCLEAR SAFETY IN WAKE OF FUKUSHIMA

NEW REPORT DETAILS CONSPIRACY TO DELAY, WEAKEN US NUCLEAR SAFETY IN WAKE OF FUKUSHIMA

Lawmakers Split Over NRC’s Jaczko

Lawmakers Split Over NRC’s Jaczko

Saudi Arabia threatens Israel, Iran with nuclear big stick

Saudi Arabia threatens Israel, Iran with nuclear big stick

Residents' exposure tops safety limit

Residents' exposure tops safety limit

Kyodo
FUKUSHIMA — Residents in three municipalities near the Fukushima No. 1 power station were exposed to as much as 37 millisieverts of radiation during the first four months of the nuclear crisis, prefectural officials said Friday.

ENERGY TECH Obama might back off pipeline veto threat: lawmaker


ENERGY TECH
Obama might back off pipeline veto threat: lawmaker

ENERGY NEWS U.S. electric grid at risk?

ENERGY NEWS
U.S. electric grid at risk?

France to strengthen nuclear security after break-ins: EDF

France to strengthen nuclear security after break-ins: EDF

Nuclear Power at a Crossroads

Nuclear Power at a Crossroads

NRC battle Jaczko vs. fellow commissioners

The Guardian questions: thorium, shale gas, off-grid renewables, and much more…

The Guardian questions: thorium, shale gas, off-grid renewables, and much more…

A nuclear alternative

A nuclear alternative

11 Dec, 2011 01:00 AM
In the wake of Fukushima, advocates of thorium reactors claim their time has come, says MICHAEL INMAN

Murkowski calls on Obama to stop meltdown at Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Murkowski calls on Obama to stop meltdown at Nuclear Regulatory Commission